Weird: The Al Yankovic Story was, well, weirder than I’d expected. I went into the film completely blind. I had seen no trailer and I’d read no synopsis. The only bit of information I had prior was that Daniel Radcliffe was portraying Al Yankovic, and I thought that was a superb bit of casting. I was expecting a traditional biopic; however, Weird Al Yankovic is anything but traditional and he deserves a movie that matches his quirky and outlandish persona. Weird is exactly that. A madcap reimagining of Al Yankovic’s rise to stardom filled with laughs, music and cameos galore.
Al is a young boy with a big dream. He wants to make music, and he wants to make it by replacing the words of existing songs with funnier ones. But his parents are strict and overbearing. They expect him to follow in his father’s footsteps by taking a job at the factory (what they make in that factory remains a mystery). When Al puts it all on the line to prove he has what it takes to create hit, spoof songs, and it pays off. Soon, he becomes a super star, riding his fame and fortune to the top of the industry.
If you were a kid in the 80’s or 90’s then you know exactly who Al Yankovic is. Hits like I Love Rocky Road, Eat It, and Amish Paradise were ultimate earworms. Much like the character of Ernest, played by the late Jim Varney, Al was a childhood icon. His childish sense of humor coupled with his mostly clean and family friendly style of entertainment made him a household name. So, why shouldn’t he have a biopic dedicated to his story?
'#Weird: The Al Yankovic Story' is a ridiculous look into the rise of America's favorite musician! It's a spoof of music, bio-pics and Weird Al himself! A pleasant surprise, and one of the most FUN movies of the year!
— Joshua Ryan (@MrMovieGuy86) November 2, 2022
Rather than acting as a true biopic, Weird loosely follows Al Yankovic’s rise to super stardom while surrounding his life with moments of pure fiction. It’s far more of a spoof of Weird Al than it is a biopic. After all, Weird isn’t just about Al Yankovic, it’s also co-written by him. And we’d expect nothing less from the man who brought us Like A Surgeon. It’s an intentional farce that targets the cliches of biographies, musicals and anything else it can think of.
Radcliffe has long ago shed the boyish persona bestowed upon him by his iconic portrayal of Harry Potter. By following a career path similar to Elijah Wood’s and choosing to focus on smaller, indie and arthouse films he’s separated himself from the pack. He fully embodies the personal of Al Yankovic, minus the vocals. Radcliffe’s singing is dubbed over by Al Yankovic himself for the musical moments. As good as Radcliffe is, it’s Jack Black who steals the show with his short appearance as the American DJ personality, Wolfman Jack.
Weird is the ultimate Al Yankovic experience. It’s got his music, his jokes and his unpredictable style. It’s everything a fan could hope for. Will everybody love it? Certainly not. Will most? I think so. But some how I don’t think Yankovic would be too concerned with the naysayers and detractors. He is fully and completely himself and has lived his life by embracing his own oddities. If somebody doesn’t like that, they can eat it.